MORTON versus Dunfermline Athletic
Saturday 25 March 2017
Cappielow Park, Greenock
Morton welcome Dunfermline Athletic to Cappielow tomorrow in a rearranged match from Tuesday 28 February that could see the hosts go a calendar year unbeaten on home turf should they avoid defeat.
Ton last lost on Sinclair Street on 26 March 2016, going down to a 1-0 reverse against Raith Rovers, but have gone 19 competitive fixtures since sampling the sting of defeat here.
The Pars will arrive tomorrow intent on ending that run as one of just two clubs to have beaten the Greenock outfit in the Ladbrokes Championship in the last six months, winning 2-1 at East End Park back on 10 December.
Jim Duffy’s men have lost just once on league duty since then, though, and come into this latest meeting infused with confidence off the back of consecutive 1-0 victories in front of the BBC Alba cameras.
The most recent of those was last week’s win at Falkirk to pull level with the Bairns on points in second, and they will be aiming to maintain that impressive form against Allan Johnston’s sixth-placed side tomorrow.
Jim Duffy told gmfc.net: “It’s a game we’re looking forward to. Dunfermline are a very attack-minded side, really positive going forward. I think they’ll certainly come to Cappielow and play their normal game.
“They play with two wingers and two out-and-out strikers, in either [Kallum] Higginbotham, and [Paul] McMullan or [Joe] Cardle, and [Nicky] Clark and [Michael] Moffat. I think that should make for an open and entertaining game.
“We got a terrific result last week and the two games we’ve won 1-0 in recent weeks have been very keenly contested matches.
“I think in the Queen of the South game we were definitely the better side, particularly in the second half when we created more chances.
“At Falkirk at the weekend there, there wasn’t much between us. They had one chance just before half-time where Gats [Derek Gaston] had an outstanding save and then one just after we scored that hit the post.
“We scored, Tam O’Ware had a right good chance, and Kudus [Oyenuga] missed one later on, so there wasn’t too much in it, and you expect that when you play a team so often.
“Defensively I thought we were very sound and I think we’ll need to be again against Dunfermline, because as I said that’s certainly a strength of their team.
“We’ll need to be very switched on defensively, and we’ll need to be a little bit more adventurous going forward. We’ve contained teams very well, but maybe haven’t capitalised on our final ball at times. That’s an area we can improve.
“That [Morton’s unbeaten record at home] is something that people are aware of, of course they are. But we can’t go into the game thinking what happens if we win this game.
“Before the game you just thinking about doing the best you possibly can to try and win. That’s the sole objective and that’s what we’ll try and do.
“And it’s complement to the players no matter what happens tomorrow that their home record has been very good, and like everything else, it’s probably more of a reason for Dunfermline than it is for us.
“Somebody will want to be the first team to beat us at home, and that can sometimes actually get a bit more publicity for other teams than a normal win might have.
“So listen, it’s difficult enough to win matches home or away in this division. All we want to try and do is get another three points if we can. It’s for other people to look at the stats.”
Long-term absentees Conor Pepper, who will undergo an operation he hopes will save his career next month, and Jai Quitongo remain sidelined.
Jamie McDonagh has been suffering from a virus and is expected to miss out, but Michael Doyle will be available again after recovering from the twisted ankle that saw him fail a late fitness test at Falkirk last weekend.
Midfielder Ross Forbes made the switch from East End Park to Cappielow midway through the 2014/15 season in a deal that saw striker Andy Barrowman move in the opposite direction.
Amongst the Dunfermline ranks are Paul McMullan and David Hutton; the former spent the final two months of last term on loan here at Cappielow from Celtic, while the latter served as back-up keeper to Derek Gaston during season 2012/13.
Sat 24 Jan 2015: Morton 2-0 Dunfermline Athletic (League One)
Sat 28 Mar 2015: Dunfermline Athletic 0-4 Morton (League One)
Sat 17 Sep 2016: Morton 2-1 Dunfermline Athletic (Championship)
Sat 12 Dec 2016: Dunfermline Athletic 2-1 Morton (Championship)
Last Time Out
Morton saw a six-game unbeaten run brought to halt at Dunfermline Athletic back in December after a nightmare first half in which almost anything that could go wrong for the visitors did go wrong.
A missed penalty, two poor back-passes that gifted the Pars their goals, and injuries to Jai Quitongo and Jamie Lindsay left Jim Duffy’s men with a mountain to climb.
Although Aidan Nesbitt pulled one back before the break to give their hopes of completing the comeback a real boost, they couldn’t find the goal needed to salvage a share of the spoils from the match and left Fife empty handed.
Referee: Mat Northcroft
Assistant one: Andy Milne
Assistant two: Alan Hogg
Entry is pay at the gate and admission prices are:
Adult – £18
Concession – £15
Child aged 12 to 16 – £5
Child under 12 accompanied by an adult – Free
Image: David Bell